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13th of January 2020

Announcing the Winner of the 2019 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

Cave Canem congratulates Marissa Davis, whose manuscript, My Name & Other Languages I Am Learning How to Speak, has been selected by prize judge Danez Smith as winner of the 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith notes that “Marissa Davis is an unpredictable poet. Every time I return to her pages I was filled with a whole…

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12th of January 2020

Submit to the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

The 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize is now open for submission! Launched in 1999 with Rita Dove’s selection of Natasha Trethewey’s Domestic Work, this first-book award is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by Black poets of African descent, and is presented in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Press. All Black writers of African descent who…

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4th of September 2019

Cave Canem’s Fall Season Kicks Off with Poets at the End of the World

An overflowing room of more than 65 attendees gathered in Cave Canem’s Brooklyn loft on August 13, 2019 for Cave Canem’s first event of the fall season: an intimate and lively reading with Poets at the End of the World. A collective comprised of Cave Canem fellows and acclaimed poets Ama Codjoe, Donika Kelly, Nicole…

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5th of August 2019

A Spotlight on the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

This year, Cave Canem will open its fifth annual Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. Established in 2015 by Cave Canem fellow and former Executive Director Nicole Sealey, in collaboration with P. Scott Cunningham, founder and director of O, Miami, the prize was launched in honor of Cave Canem’s 20th anniversary. Dedicated to the discovery…

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1st of July 2019

The 2019 Cave Canem Retreat Album!

Cave Canem’s week-long retreat for Black poets at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg took place June 9 –15, 2019, and brought together writers from diverse poetic traditions. The retreat provided an unparalleled opportunity to study with a world-class faculty, which included Cave Canem co-founder Cornelius Eady, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Dawn Lundy Martin, Willie Perdomo…

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4th of June 2019

Reflecting on “Yusef Komunyakaa: A Celebration”

On May 11, 2019, an audience of more than 300 gathered at New York University for a day-long tribute to the living legend, poet Yusef Komunyakaa. The tribute began with a morning share, wherein students, colleagues and creative collaborators spoke of Komunyakaa’s impact on their artistic practice and personal lives. Afterward, the panel “Love in…

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29th of April 2019

Cave Canem at AWP Portland

This past March, Cave Canem joined hundreds of literary institutions and thousands of writers for the AWP conference in Portland, Oregon. Cave Canem’s first stop on March 27 was at Literary Arts, where we hosted our Fellows Off-Site Reading. Emceed by graduate fellow Samiya Bashir, the program attracted nearly 100 attendees and featured 15 fellows, who each read…

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4th of April 2019

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Cave Canem Family & Friends, As we look toward the 25th anniversary, it is remarkable to think that Cave Canem was once just an idea of our forward-thinking founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady. It has been an honor and a great joy to be part of this revolutionary experiment as a fan, fellow…

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3rd of April 2019

Party for the People: A Recap

On Thursday March 14, Amarachi—a Black-owned, Brooklyn-based restaurant—hosted Party for the People, a poetry pop-up dance party co-presented by Cave Canem and Lambda Literary, founding members of the Poetry Coalition. The party was part of the Poetry Coalition’s March programming that explored themes of Poetry & Democracy. The program featured pop-up readings from Cave Canem and Lambda Literary-affiliated poets…

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28th of February 2019

Cave Canem Visits Beinecke Library at Yale University

Fall of 2014 marked a critical moment in Cave Canem’s institutional history: the organization’s archives—which contain a number of print and digital materials documenting Cave Canem’s history, growth and impact—were acquired by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. Cave Canem’s records are a significant addition to the James Weldon Johnson Memorial…

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8th of February 2019

Cave Canem Board Transition Announcement

Dear Friends of Cave Canem, I am writing to inform the Cave Canem community that I will be passing the honor of serving as the President of the Cave Canem Board to Amanda Johnston, Cave Canem graduate fellow and Black Poets Speak Out cofounder, by the end of this quarter, March 31, 2019. As Cave…

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3rd of January 2019

Cave Canem Year in Review: 2018

The New Year brings with it reflection on the past and anticipation for the future. As we welcome what’s ahead, we also take the time to both acknowledge and celebrate the organization’s 2018 achievements. At the top of the year, Cave Canem was named a recipient of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s second annual Spark Prize, a…

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28th of November 2018

A Look Back at the Cave Canem Poetry Prize

This November, Cave Canem fellow Julian Randall takes to the mic to share work from his Cave Canem Poetry Prize-winning debut Refuse (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), selected by Hurston/Wright Legacy Awardee Vievee Francis. Randall notes, “The Cave Canem Prize is literally my dream prize…the only prize for which I own every single book that…

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27th of November 2018

Apply to the 2019 Cave Canem Retreat!

Cave Canem’s week-long retreat will be held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, June 9 – June 15, 2019. This year’s world-class faculty includes poets Cornelius Eady, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Dawn Lundy Martin and Willie Perdomo, with visiting poet Matthew Shenoda. The Cave Canem Retreat offers an unparalleled opportunity to study with established poets and join a…

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26th of October 2018

Cave Canem’s Anti-Oppression Series

Last fall Cave Canem hosted its first ever anti-racism workshop facilitated by poet, social justice advocate and fellow Ama Codjoe. As part of our Lecture & Master Class series, “Walking the Walk: Poetry, Equity & Anti-Racism in the Literary Arts” marked the launch of Cave Canem’s Anti-Oppression Series, which offers workshops that facilitate conversations about…

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1st of October 2018

Cave Canem and the Brooklyn Museum Present Soul of a Nation Reading Series

Since 2016, Cave Canem and the Brooklyn Museum have partnered to produce readings that bring together lovers of poetry and visual arts alike. Offered as part of the Museum’s First Saturdays, attendees enjoy lively, multi-media programs held in the Museum’s galleries. With feature readings from Cave Canem fellows and friends, the program attracts a large…

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4th of September 2018

A Look into Cave Canem’s Poets Tour Program

Cave Canem’s Poets Tour provides opportunities for Cave Canem fellows to share their work with diverse audiences and help sustain the nation’s premier home for Black poetry. Through the program, Cave Canem manages booking details for a sponsor organization seeking to engage participating fellows. Poets Tour fellows participate in a broad range of events, including…

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2nd of August 2018

Submit to the 2018 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

The 2018 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize is now open for submission!  Launched in 2015, the prize is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional chapbook-length manuscripts by Black poets, and is presented in collaboration with the O, Miami Poetry Festival, The Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center and The Betsy-South…

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1st of August 2018

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Cave Canem congratulates Malcolm Tariq, whose manuscript Heed the Hollow has been selected by prize judge Chris Abani as winner of the 2018 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Abani notes that the collection “charts a neglected history, re-inscribing a loved and loving black body into a narrative of excavation. These poems are lyrically complex, charged, artfully and erotically…

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Apply to Cave Canem’s Fall 2018 Workshops

Applications are now open for Cave Canem’s fall 2018 workshops! Since 1999, these free and low-cost community-based workshops for Black writers and writers of color have offered rigorous instruction and rare opportunities to work with accomplished poets. This season’s two workshop offerings are Procedures, Discomforts and Retellings with LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, wherein participants will…

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25th of July 2018

Highlights from Cave Canem’s Working Fellowship and Internship Program

Designed to cultivate the next generation of arts administrators of color, the working fellowship and internship program at Cave Canem teaches fellows and interns the ins and outs of nonprofit administration. Workshops & Administrative Fellow Della Green notes, “My skills and experience in arts administration have improved immensely during my time at Cave Canem.” Throughout…

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3rd of July 2018

The 2018 Retreat Album

Cave Canem’s week-long retreat, held annually at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, offers an unparalleled opportunity for Black poets to study with a world-class faculty and join a community of peers. This year’s faculty comprised Guggenheim awardee, Chris Abani; Cave Canem co-founder, Cornelius Eady; 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Evie Shockley; and 2004 Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner, Amber Flora…

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29th of June 2018

Revisiting “A Tribute to June Jordan”

Last month, Cave Canem fellows, faculty and friends convened at The CUNY Graduate Center for A Tribute to June Jordan, a day-long celebration of the writer’s work and life. Poet and co-trustee of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate Trust, Jan Heller Levi, kicked off the day’s events with a keynote address. Panels were held…

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20th of June 2018

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize

Cave Canem and Northwestern University Press congratulate Tsitsi Jaji on receiving the 2018 prize for her second book of poems, Mother Tongues, selected by Matthew Shenoda. The Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize is a second-book award for Black poets of African descent, offered every other year. The award celebrates and publishes works of…

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8th of June 2018

The National Endowment for the Arts Finds that Poetry Reading is on the Rise

Brooklyn, NY (June 8, 2018)— Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Arts released information confirming that poetry reading is on the rise. Specifically, according to the NEA’s Director of Research and Analysis Sunil Iyengar: Nearly 29 million U.S. adults read poetry not required for work or school, the highest rate on record over a 15-year period of…

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21st of May 2018

Introducing the 2018 Cave Canem Fellows!

With the 2018 Retreat fast approaching it is a pleasure to introduce this year’s 2018 Retreat fellows, both new and returning!            

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20th of March 2018

Cave Canem at AWP Tampa

Earlier this month, Cave Canem joined hundreds of literary institutions and thousands of writers in Tampa, Florida for the annual AWP conference. Cave Canem kicked off the week with its Annual Fellows Reading on March 7. Headlined by Florida-affiliated fellows Yolanda Franklin, Natalie Graham, and Breauna L. Roach,  fellows shared their work in rapid-fire intervals. On March 9,…

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1st of March 2018

Cave Canem’s Fellows & Faculty Exquisite Corpse

Throughout the month of March, Poetry Coalition members will present multiple programs on the theme “Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body,” which borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s poem “Flores Woman.” As a founding member of the Poetry Coalition, Cave Canem invited fellows and faculty to reimagine our collective voice as…

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21st of February 2018

History as Muse: A Review of Tyehimba Jess’ Master Class

On the evening of Thursday, February 1st, Cave Canem’s DUMBO office was filled with ragtime and jazz as participants in “Poetry’s Musical Bloodline: A Sociohistorical Soundtrack,” settled into their seats. Once the music died down, Tyehimba Jess played a short, electrifying tune on his harmonica. “The harmonica is a lot like poetry,” Jess explained, “it…

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10th of January 2018

Cave Canem Wins $100,000 Spark Prize

Cave Canem Foundation has been named a recipient of Brooklyn Community Foundation’s annual Spark Prize, a distinction that includes a grant award of $100,000 in general operating support. Now in its second year, the Spark Prize honors “outstanding organizations that stand for and build equity and strength in Brooklyn’s communities.” Named for its mission to…

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19th of November 2017

Support the Home for Black Poetry

“…when you look at all the poets whose work has blossomed under the arbor of Cave Canem, you see an actual transformation of American literature. It’s been the most extraordinary happening in American literature in all the time I’ve been working.” –Elizabeth Alexander, Cave Canem Honorary Director Cave Canem is launching its 2017 end of…

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25th of October 2017

Apply to the 2018 Cave Canem Retreat!

Cave Canem’s week-long retreat will be held at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, June 10 – June 16, 2018. This year’s world-class faculty includes poets Chris Abani, Cornelius Eady, Evie Shockley, Amber Flora Thomas, with visiting poet Robin Coste Lewis. The Cave Canem Retreat offers an unparalleled opportunity to study with established poets and join a community…

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3rd of October 2017

Parneshia Jones Appointed President of Cave Canem’s Board of Directors

Cave Canem is thrilled to announce the appointment of Parneshia Jones as president of the Foundation’s board of directors. Jones’s term began October 1, 2017, and is preceded by that of Jacqueline Jones LaMon, who held the office from October 2015 to late September 2017. Previously, Jones served as board secretary. Jones’s collaborations with Cave…

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2nd of August 2017

We’re Hiring!

Cave Canem is seeking two part-time working fellows to join its team in Brooklyn. Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. Founded in 1996 to remedy the isolation and under-representation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem Foundation, Inc. is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the…

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17th of July 2017

The Poetry Coalition Receives $200,000 Ford Foundation Grant

As a founding member of the Poetry Coalition, Cave Canem Foundation is delighted to announce that the Ford Foundation has granted the Coalition $200,000 for nation-wide contemporary poetry programs focused on themes of social importance. Over the next two years, this generous grant will allow the founding members of the Poetry Coalition to convene and…

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28th of June 2017

Cave Canem 20/20: A Celebration Both Timely and Profound

For Cave Canem Foundation and the two hundred attendees visiting Weeksville Heritage Center over this past Memorial Day weekend, Cave Canem 20/20: A Panoramic View of Black Poetry marked a deeply reflective and joyous occasion. An overall success, the two-and-a-half day poetry forum and fundraiser commemorating Cave Canem’s past, present and future raised nearly $13,000…

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22nd of June 2017

Tracy K. Smith Appointed 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate

Tracy K. Smith, recipient of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, has been named the 22nd U.S. Poet Laureate. During her term, Smith hopes to expand the reach of poetry by “getting off the usual path of literary festivals and university reading series and talking to people who might not even yet be readers of…

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16th of March 2017


Cave Canem Foundation, in league with members of the Poetry Coalition and other arts organizations across the U.S., is committed to challenging the proposed defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts. We join #SaveTheNEA to bolster public outcry and illuminate the absolute necessity of this federal agency. Below you’ll find resources to make your voice…

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30th of December 2016

Nicole Sealey Appointed Cave Canem Foundation Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., North America’s premier home for black poetry, is pleased to announce that Nicole Sealey has been appointed the organization’s next Executive Director. She succeeds Alison Meyers, who will retire December 31. Sealey brings more than a dozen years of experience advancing missions, values, visibility and resource…

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6th of December 2016

Poetry Organizations from Across the U.S. Join Together to Form Historic Coalition & Launch March 2017 Programs on Migration

December 6, 2016—Twenty nonprofit poetry organizations from across the United States have formed a historic coalition dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. With support from Lannan Foundation, the poetry organizations…

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27th of October 2016

Artistic Director Karma Mayet Johnson
Freedom Now! A Success on October 19, 2016

Artistic Director Karma Mayet Johnson and her inter-generational village of poets and musicians rocked the stage on Wednesday, October 19, with an evening-long concert of artistic rebellion celebrating Cave Canem’s 2oth anniversary. View the full program on YouTube. Inspired by jazz composer and drummer Max Roach’s WE INSIST!, as well as texts by Audre Lorde…

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28th of September 2016

Cave Canem Awarded the 2016 Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation

We’re pleased to announce that Cave Canem has been awarded the National Book Foundation’s 2016 Literarian Award, a $10,000 prize for outstanding service to the American literary community. The award will be presented to the organization at this year’s National Book Awards ceremony on November 16, 2016. Read the full citation on the National Book…

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14th of September 2016

Cave Canem Seeks Grants Manager

Cave Canem Foundation seeks a Grants Manager to maintain a portfolio of current corporate, foundation, and government funding, and to research, identify and procure new sources of funding in all three areas. Applications accepted through October 6, 2016. Learn more on our Employment page.

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6th of September 2016

Cave Canem Seeks Executive Director

Cave Canem Foundation seeks an Executive Director to build on our successful 20-year history and lead our organization to continued cultural advancement. Applications accepted through October 10, 2016. Visit our Employment page for more information.

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25th of August 2016

We’re hiring: Apply for a working fellowship!

Cave Canem seeks an Amazon Literary Partnership Fellow. Learn more on our Employment page.

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3rd of August 2016

And the Winners Are . . . Cave Canem Poetry Prize & Cave Canem Northwestern U. Press Poetry Prize

Cave Canem is pleased to announce that Kwame Dawes has selected Natalie J. Graham’s manuscript, Begin with a Failed Body, for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Natalie will receive $1,000, publication by The University of Georgia Press in fall 2017, complimentary copies of the book, and a feature reading in New York City. A…

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26th of July 2016

‘I’m With You’: Poetry Foundation marks 20 years of Cave Canem

In a new interview piece, Sara Ivry speaks with five members from the Cave Canem community. Co-founders Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady; faculty member Terrance Hayes; Rio Cortez, inaugural winner of the Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize; fellow Nick Makoha; and 2015 National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis talk about what Cave…

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18th of May 2016

Cave Canem Poets Win Awards

Brooklyn, NY  (12 May 2016)—Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for black poetry, congratulates seven recipients of prestigious national awards: fellows Rio Cortez, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Ross Gay, Duriel Harris, Airea Dee Matthews and Danez Smith, and faculty member Ed Roberson. Rio Cortez, a Pushcart-nominated poet and recipient of a 2012 Amy Award…

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26th of November 2015

Jacqueline Jones LaMon Elected President

JACQUELINE JONES LAMON ELECTED PRESIDENT OF CAVE CANEM FOUNDATION Brooklyn, NY (05 October 2015)—Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for black poetry, is pleased to announce that Jacqueline Jones LaMon has been elected to serve as the organization’s next president. She succeeds Cave Canem co‐founder Toi Derricotte, who held the office from February 1997 to late September…

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24th of November 2015

Gregory Pardlo wins 2015 Pulitzer for Digest

Brooklyn, NY (April 22, 2015)—Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for black poetry, congratulates Cave Canem fellow Gregory Pardlo, recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Digest, published by Four Way Books. This year’s jury described his book as “clear‐voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought,…

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Toi Derricotte to Retire as President: Tribute Fund Established

TOI DERRICOTTE T O RETIRE A S PRESIDENT O F CAVE CANEM FOUNDATION Toi Derricotte Tribute Fund Established to Perpetuate Co‐founder’s Legacy Brooklyn, NY (21 September 2015)—Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for black poetry, announces the retirement of co‐founder Toi Derricotte from her role as president of the board of directors, a position…

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